web analytics
July 22, 2014 / 24 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Happy New Year? How Do You Know?

         Just days ago, millions of people all over the world welcomed in the secular new year of 2008. A great majority did so by partying well into the night, overindulging in food and drink, singing and dancing and generally making a lot of noise. They were wild with excitement that a new calendar year was beginning.


 


         This unconditional embrace of a (manmade) “new” year has always puzzled me. Since the future is unknown – how can one so blindly embrace it? How can these celebrants be so sure that 2008 will be a “happy” year for them? How can they be so confident that the forthcoming days, weeks and months will be “benign” – and that there aren’t events ahead that won’t be ones of tremendous loss, chaos or death?

 

         Jews celebrating their New Year are not in such denial or such a blissful state of oblivion to the potential of a harsh reality. We know that the quality and quantity of our lives determines every new year. We are all too aware of what can befall us, for whereas we hope and pray that we will have a good year – a shanah tovah - we know only too well that various calamities can happen to us and to our loved ones. We know that we all are on trial and that the Master of the Universe is judging us and His verdict will be sealed and eventually executed.

 

         Hence we act accordingly. We spend the two days of our new year in deep prayer and heartfelt supplication, pleading with our Creator to bless us with a pleasant year – whether we merit it or not. And on Yom Kippur, our Day of Atonement, our day in Appeals Court, so to speak, we spend the entire time fasting and pleading with the Heavenly Judge to be merciful for our lives are totally in His hands.

 

         During our prayers of appeal we silently wonder – who will live and who will die? For those who will get a decree for life – will they have tranquility or chaos? And of those who will die – will they die peacefully, or painfully? Will they have enjoyed the full measure of their years, or die prematurely, painfully or violently? There is no being oblivious of reality on our New Year, nor is there blind optimism.

 

         Spending most of our holiday in our synagogues, in trepidation and even anxiety, admitting to G-d that we ignored the guidelines He gave for our own benefit, and begging Him for forgiveness and mercy – seems the sensible way to observe a new year, a new cycle of time. Mindlessly partying into the wee hours of the night – often to the point of being senseless – does not.

 

         It was estimated that there were about a million people who thronged to New York City’s Times Square to greet the new year, flushed with excitement and in a state of exhilaration. Yet did any take a minute to wonder what kind of year they will experience? Did they take a time-out and spend a moment contemplating what could happen to them or those they are closely connected to in the upcoming months? Will they get a problematic medical diagnosis; lose their job and/or their home? Be severely injured in a car accident? Die in a fire or drown in a flood (As we say in our Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur daveningme b’aish u’mi b’mayim.)

 

         Every year, just days, even hours after the new year begins, there are news stories of people who were killed or murdered and I have no doubt that these very same individuals were cavorting and merrymaking on News Year’s Eve.

 

         I would think, if anything, they should celebrate the year that just ended. Obviously they survived that one and if they are able to party – they must be in relatively good physical and emotional health. Thus on New Year’s Eve, perhaps they should party because they got through 2007 relatively intact – and not so mindlessly greet an unknown new year.

 

         Every Rosh Hashanah, I tell myself that I must have had a successful davening because I’m still here and while I might have had my “ups and downs” during that cycle of time, nothing negatively out of the ordinary happened. Thus I ” celebrate” and thank Hashem for the past year – even as I daven that the year ahead will be a palatable one.

 

         Perhaps those celebrating 2008 should take a time out from their New Year partying – and say a prayer as well.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Happy New Year? How Do You Know?”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Golani 13
1 MIA as IDF Names 6 Additional Members of the Golani 13
Latest Sections Stories
book-Family-Frayda

Written entirely through Frayda’s eyes, the reader is drawn by her unassuming personality.

book-I-Kings

Adopting an ancient exegetical approach that is based on midrashic readings of the text, thematic connections that span between various books of the Bible are revealed.

book-Unify-A-Nation

While Lipman comes from an ultra-Orthodox background and is an Orthodox rabbi, he offers a breath of fresh air when he suggests that “polarization caused by extremism and isolationism in the religious community may be the greatest internal threat to the future of the Jewish people”

Schonfeld-logo1

The Joys of Yiddish, Leo Rosten defines a mentch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character.”

Certainly today’s communication via e-mail, Facebook, Twitter and the like, including the ubiquitous Whatsapp, has reduced the need to talk with people and communicate at length.

These two special women utilized their incredibly painful experience as an opportunity to assist others.

Maybe we don’t have to lose that growth and unity that we have achieved, especially with the situation in Eretz Yisrael right now.

Sleepily, I watched him kissing Mai’s chubby thighs.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

My teachers like me and they tell my parents that I am a great girl with good middos.

The chicken and waffle nuggets were fabulous and were like chicken in a dessert form.

“Have you forgotten your dreams?” The Hope Merchant asks a defeated and hopeless Lily when she “happens” upon his shop.

The universe was created by God out of nothing; it has not always existed.

He combined intellectual achievement with deep spirituality and religious devotion.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-032814

A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.

Kupfer-031414

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.

One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.

For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.

Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/happy-new-year-how-do-you-know/2008/01/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: